I love teaching! This week, I have taught all four classes each day! Tomorrow the sex ed guy will be in our room, so there won’t be any math instruction. Overall, teaching has gone well and I really enjoy working with these students. As we get to know each other, they are more willing to participate and learn in class. It’s so great to see their enthusiasm to come up to the board to write the answer to one of the warm up problems. There are always plenty of volunteers. And while my cooperating teacher gives the kids candy frequently, today was the first day I opened my bag of tropical starburst to give to the students who did a warm up problem on the board. I really want to take the focus away from tangible incentives and help the students learn how to celebrate a job well done (without candy!) :-P.
In addition to teaching, I’ve had several “little talks” with some of my students. On Monday, I talked with Daniel about earning the privilege of playing basketball on the school’s team. He had skipped class that day, so he was not allowed to stay after school for practice. I asked him what he had to do to earn the privilege of playing ball. With just a little probing, he told me that he had to listen to adults and respect them, show up to class and do his schoolwork. This brief conversation was a good reminder that these kids pretty much know what they need to do, they just need a ton of encouragement (role models would be good too!) to do the right thing. That’s on of the reasons that I’m really not a fan of yelling… it’s not like they don’t know they need to be quiet…
I had another little talk with Tiara. She had just come into my room and her body language told me she had no intentions of starting the warm up anytime soon, if at all. There had been some drama the previous day or so between her and another girl who had talked of fighting. I came close to Tiara’s desk and spoke softly. I asked if she was ready to start her warm up. With arms crossed and a huge frown on her face, she shook her head without saying a word. I asked if there was anything she wanted to tell me because it looked like she was upset. Same response- silent, subtle head shake. I followed this by saying that maybe there were some things you would want to talk with me about later. Still a non-verbal reply- but this time it was a nod (yes). I’ll take it!!
There have been so many of these little talks- some with individuals some with the entire class (about how I was really quiet and kind of a nerd in high school! :-P) This is why I’m here. This is why I want to be a teacher. Yes, math is important… but it is definitely not all these kids need! And although I feel like the kids are really starting to warm up to me, I’m realizing that building trust with each other will be a process. I know I can be trusted, but the kids need to see that in my actions and hear that in my words. This process may be frustratingly slow at times, but I know it will be worth it. If one life is changed for the better because I’m here, I’ve done my job! 🙂